“Get your popcorn ready.”
Four seemingly innocuous words muttered by Ole Miss head coach Lane Kiffin prior to the team’s game against Alabama.
The question to Kiffin that prompted this incredible answer, which Kiffin definitely didn’t practice in the mirror this morning, was essentially: “Do you have any special plans for the Crimson Tide today?” or “Did you make anything special for your game?” do you plan to take on one of the toughest teams in the country today?” That’s a pretty basic question.
Obviously Kiffin doesn’t want to reveal any of his tactics before the game starts, so it was to be expected that we’d get a pretty indirect answer, but man… “Are you preparing popcorn?” That gives some extra flavor to the drama stew. That creates a hype! Now, Mr. Kiffin, you are making me excited. I’m not an Ole Miss fan, but I can imagine how intrigued they are by that answer. I expect tricks, fumblerooskis, ingenuity on the side of the game, all kinds of wonderful things from your team now…
Then you come out and follow with 28 on the half. I’ll give you props for having the guts to go for it in fourth place and even convert twice, but five times, also once in your own territory? Now you’re going too far. You’re on a nine, Lane. I need you on a six, okay? I like the intensity, but after scoring zero points in the first half, you may have gone a bit too far with your promise at the start of the match.
Ole Miss fans have definitely pulled out their popcorn. While they probably expected a good action movie with tons of twists that would satisfy them even if they didn’t get the ending they wanted, they got a comedy instead. Not even a good Leslie Nielsen-style comedy. They have a Jack and Jillcomedy type — the type of comedy that will make you want to leave the theater early and go out for a drink for the day.
All in all, I can’t blame Kiffin for being confident. You need a lot of that if you want to take out Alabama. Kiffin tried to do something no other former Saban assistant had done in 24 attempts. Kiffin gave Saban everything in 2020, threw everything he had to Alabama and gave the eventual national champions a run for their money, although ultimately losing by a final of 63-48. However, Saban is not one to forget. He doesn’t take any opponent lightly, and he wants to squeeze every hope another team might have out of them until their bodies dry up.
Kiffin, I recommend you. While most other coaches would probably try to lower expectations prior to a game against Alabama, you went out and made a promise. You promised to give the fans a show. You looked pretty good on the first ride too, before being briefly stopped on a 4th-and-1 in the red zone.
With that kind of success at the beginning against a team that has only really been tested once all season, I would find it hard not to feel good for the rest of the game, but you should have known better. You were already in the hot seat (not steamy, but definitely lukewarm), because of all the potential your team showed last year plus the fact that almost everyone returned, but this show just isn’t going to make it.